The BBC’s Jewish Problem Isn’t Going Away

Nov. 18 2022

Last year, a group of men surrounded a parked bus carrying Jewish teenagers, banged on the windows, yelled anti-Semitic epithets and threats, made Nazi salutes and obscene gestures, and then chased after it when it began to pull away. The BBC, reporting on the incident, stated that the teenagers had shouted an anti-Muslim slur, or “racial slurs,” at the attackers—although the video of the incident and the subsequent police report make clear no such slurs were uttered. But worse than the falsehood, writes Stephen Pollard, was the network’s unwillingness to admit to it:

Two months later, on January 26, the BBC’s Executive Complaints Unit reported [on the coverage of the story]. It, too, refused to concede that the slur was a fiction, but said that “more could have been done” to “acknowledge the differing views . . . on what was said.” Except that the only “differing views” were of what happened and did not happen.

All organizations make mistakes. What matters is how they are corrected. But consistently, the BBC behaves as if it is beyond reproach, as if only those with an agenda or animus against it could possibly find fault. In this case, the BBC’s dogmatic refusal to accept any responsibility, led it to treat the Jewish community itself with contempt, loftily dismissing the pleadings of the chief rabbi and the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, among others, for it to consult evidence and act accordingly.

In response to repeated complaints, Ofcom—the UK’s equivalent of the FCC—conducted an investigation which resulted in the recent release of a damning report. But not much seems to be changing at Britain’s state-sponsored network. Jonathan Sacerdoti notes some all-too-typical examples:

The BBC has broadcast folksongs that glorify attacks on Jews and call for bloodshed. . . . One of the songs, aired on its Arabic language service—which has 36 million viewers—is addressed to Palestinian militants. As translated by the media watchdog Camera Arabic, the song says: “The force in your hand is your right. Don’t leave your weapon in its sheath. . . . From the Jerusalem mountains and from the plain, your blood, should it be shed on the earth, would make red freedom bloom.”

In [another] case, the broadcaster took twelve months to accept an error in a report about holy sites in Jerusalem. Although the BBC acknowledged it, the mistake remains online more than two months later, and is still in place.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Anglo-Jewry, Anti-Semitism, BBC

Russia’s Alliance with Hizballah Is Growing Stronger

Tehran’s ongoing cooperation with Moscow has recently garnered public attention because of the Kremlin’s use of Iranian arms against Ukraine, but it extends much further, including to the Islamic Republic’s Lebanese proxy, Hizballah. Aurora Ortega and Matthew Levitt explain:

Over the last few years, Russia has quietly extended its reach into Lebanon, seeking to cultivate cultural, economic, and military ties in Beirut as part of a strategy to expand Russian influence in the Middle East, while sidelining the U.S. and elevating Moscow’s role as a peacemaker.

Russia’s alliance with Hizballah was born out of the conflict in Syria, where Russian and Hizballah forces fought side-by-side in an alliance with the Assad regime. For years, this alliance appeared strictly limited to military activity in Syria, but in 2018, Hizballah and Russia began to engage in unprecedented joint sanctions-evasion activities. . . . In November 2018, the U.S. Department of the Treasury exposed a convoluted trade-based oil-smuggling sanctions-evasion scheme directed by Hizballah and [Iran].

The enhanced level of collaboration between Russia and Hizballah is not limited to sanctions evasion. In March 2021, Hizballah sent a delegation to Moscow, on its second-ever “diplomatic” visit to the country. Unlike its first visit a decade prior, which was enveloped in secrecy with no media exposure, this visit was well publicized. During their three days in Moscow, Hizballah representatives met with various Russian officials, including the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. . . . Just three months after this visit to Moscow, Hizballah received the Russian ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Rudakov in Beirut to discuss further collaboration on joint projects.

Read more at Royal United Services Institute

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Lebanon, Russia